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Les3Vallees This Winter

Ski areas often claim to have something for everyone but the largest linked ski area in the world really does.  Here’s what to expect in Les3Vallees resorts in the Savoie region of the French Alps this ski season.

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The names are iconic.

Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens.

Plus there’s Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville and Orelle.

And not forgetting the historic spa town down in the valley, Brides-les-Bains.

Welcome to Les3Vallees.

Skiing in Les3Vallees – photo David Andre

The figures are mind-blowing.

  • 7 ski resorts
  • 600km of connected runs
  • 163 high-performance lifts
  • Skiing from 1,300m up to 3,230m altitude
  • 339 alpine runs
  • 120km of cross country trails
  • 6 glaciers
  • 85% of the ski area above 1,800m
  • Snowmaking covering a third of the entire ski area

It’s huge

The first question most people want an answer to is what the resorts may look like with coronavirus around.

This winter the area will be following all the rules in relation to Covid-19.

The body representing the French mountain resorts, France Montagnes, has published details of the Covid-19 rules for next winter.

See our earlier article for the full details:

France reveals what resorts will look like next winter

Next winter in France

Next winter in France

The highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens (2,300m), has one of the longest seasons in the Alps.

It is due to open on 21st November this year and close on 9th May, subject to snow conditions.

Val Thorens – photo David Andre

Its near neighbour, Orelle, plans to open on 28th November.

The connections between the resorts will be open from 5th December 2020 to 23rd April 2021.

Opening and closing dates

New This Winter

Val Thorens

Ice rink

Le Patinoire will open in the Place Peclet.

It covers 400 square metres and there will be a light show, music and snack bar.

Entry is €8 for the over-16s and €7  for children.

Ice driving

Ice driving circuit, Val Thorens

The Alain Prost ice driving circuit will become the first in France to have only electric vehicles.

Adults can test the Andros Trophy 2 wheel drive electric cars on the ice.

Children over the age of 7 can drive 270cc go-karts with studded tyres.

If you’ve never experienced it before, it’s great fun, not to mention useful as you learn how to control slides, brake properly and corner fast on the 760m track.

Mini Riders Snowboarding

Val Thorens’ ESF Ski School is running beginner snowboarding sessions for 4-6 year olds.

The “Mini Riders” course from Monday to Friday will introduce the little ones to snowboarding in the snow kindergarten.

Val Thorens/Les Menuires/St Martin de Belleville

Drone

The three resorts in the Belleville Valley will be using a high-powered drone to help save lives after a successful pilot last winter.

You can read how in our separate article:

Drone being used in Belleville Valley – photo C Ducruet Val Thorens Tourist Office

Saint Martin de Belleville

Sylvotheraphy

For those wanting to reconnect with nature, how about some sylvotheraphy sessions.

The practice derives from yoga and meditation but ‘harnesses the positive energy waves emitted by trees’.

Otherwise known as tree hugging.

It’s available in March and April 2021.

Sylvotheraphy in Saint Martin de Belleville

Orelle

Ski lockers

New ski lockers are available to rent at the foot of the cable car.

There are 112 big enough for 4 people (€10 a day),  and 38 for 2 people (€5 a day).

They have digital locking, heaters and shoe dryers.

Meribel

Improvements

The narrow Roc de Fer tunnel has been widened and improved ahead of the 2023 Alpine World Championships.

It’s now 50m long, 8.5m wide and 5m high.

Skiers will be able to go under the Roc de Fer run which is usually used for racing.

There’s a new footbridge at Le Raffort Hamlet intended to make it safer and easier for skiers finishing the Raffort piste, to access the gondola up the mountain and to return to Brides les Bains via the Olympe 1 and 2 gondolas.

Brides les Bains to Meribel lift

The Olympe lift between Brides les Bains and Meribel

The forest animal trail in the Altiport area, where children can learn to identify animal calls and tracks, is getting a makeover and fresh look.

The Piste des Animaux is accessible with or without skis as it has a footpath alongisde it.

Meribel Mottaret

Bouquetin Chairlift

It’s a new 6-seater and will replace the old Plattieres 3 gondola.

It will be quicker, more energy efficient and comfortable.

Taking just 2’30” to reach the summit, it gives access to Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville.

It can be used by non-skiers going both up and down.

Meribel Mottaret – photo David Andre

Courchevel

L’Eclipse

There’s a new black run called L’Eclipse.

It has a 3,000m descent and 900m vertical drop down to Le Praz.

It’s been designed for the 2023 Alpine World Championships.

Drago Show

The ski school, ESF Courchevel 1850 is organising new evening activities for children aged four and over.

Taking place once a week in the school holidays they include a torch-light descent, driving a mini snowmobile, sledging, laser shooting with free hot chocolate (and mulled wine for the adults).

Top 6 Freeski

There will be freestyle camps for 13 to 18-year-olds who can experience the snowparks and off-piste with freestyle champion Clement Picard from ESF Courchevel 1850.

Courchevel – photo David Andre

There is also plenty of new accommodation and some innovations across the ski area’s restaurants.

A couple caught our eye in Courchevel Le Praz.

La Cave des Lys will be offering a gourmet Savoyard takeaway service.

Cheese, charcuterie, raclette, fondue and more, along with some top Savoie wines.

Food from La Cave des Lys, Courchevel Le Praz

And you can have meals prepared for you in your own accommodation by chefs at the Michelin star restaurant L’Azimut.

They’ll also give cooking classes.

Les3Vallees

Click here to find out more about what you can do this winter in Les3Vallees.

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